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The risk of drug-impaired driving

| Jun 2, 2020 | Criminal Defense/dui

It is against the law in Kentucky to drive while impaired by substances, whether legal or illegal, like alcohol, marijuana and opioids. This is true for all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Even in states where the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized, the same rule applies.

However, in the 2013-2014 National Roadside Survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 20% of drivers tested positive for potentially impairing drugs. The issue is so widespread that the NHTSA launched a campaign in 2018 called “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different.”

Substances can affect users in various ways. Marijuana and alcohol impair one’s attention and ability to make correct judgments. Drivers, then, will be unable to detect hazards on the road and react to them in time. On the other hand, cocaine and meth make one aggressive, which can lead to reckless driving.

Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications cause drowsiness and dizziness, which are obviously not conducive to safe driving. That’s why such medications have a label warning users against operating heavy machinery.

Drivers can do their part to prevent drug-impaired driving by recognizing when they are impaired and relying on a sober driver to take them to their destination. To protect themselves against other drivers who might be impaired, they should always wear their seat belt.

In many car accidents, the fault does not lie entirely with one side or the other. One driver may have been impaired, but the other may not have been wearing a seat belt. Kentucky operates under a pure comparative negligence rule, so even those who are partially at fault may be able to recover damages. To find out if they have the grounds for a claim against the other side’s insurance company, victims may consult with a lawyer.